The four stages of dog learning

So often in dog training, when the dog is not able to perform the desired behavior in response to the given cue, we only blame the dog. People often claim the dog as stubborn when they do not find the dog following their command at initial attempts. However, in reality, the concept is different! 

The thing is that the handler just didn’t make it clear for the dog to fully get what the person was attempting to teach. 

If you are training your dog, and he is not getting your concept, then you can just convince yourself that you are the only one who can make the exercise easier for the dog. And with you, he is going to be succeeded. Furthermore, with constant efforts and dedication your dog will be succeeded. And once he succeeded he will get the reinforcement! 

That reinforcement will allow him to repeat that action. And that will end up in better practice and perfection. That’s what you want, right? 

There are four stages of learning and it’s imperative to keep them in mind- 

  1. Acquisition 
  2. Fluency 
  3. Generalization
  4. Maintenance 

Firstly, the dog has to start to acquire the skill of focusing on you. Then after that, you continue to make your dog practice. You want that behavior to be related to your dog fluently. Next, you have to generalize that behavior in a variety of conditions and environments. 

First, you start with an environment that is of low distraction. When you feel that your dog is showing some progress, you can choose a highly distracting setting. It is suggested to do this every time you practice in a highly distracting environment with your dog. Here highly distracting surroundings may include a sideline of a dog sports competition or a busy Park. Eventually, you are ready to reach the maintenance stage of learning! 

As the name suggests, it’s all about maintaining a specific habit. 

It happens when you continue to practice with your dog and strengthen the certain behavior so that it keeps up solid. 

Here’s an example, if someone is a very good mandolin player. He must have learned to play specific tunes first and got pretty well because he practiced daily. Then he must have become fluent and could play a lot of tunes at his home itself. He then generalized the behavior of playing mandolin in a variety of spots (at music jam with the public, home with friends, playing in completion, etc.) 

Then he maintained the level of expertise for a while but life got a little busy and quit practicing. Result? His mandolin playing isn’t that great anymore! 

So, if you ever notice your dog not grabbing a specific command while attending some dog training courses, then it’s only about the new environment or a new command. Not that he is not getting your thing and should be blamed for the same. 

And that’s what, the team of Dog Training runs after. Success for you and success for your dog. And by all the ways, to make the training process FUN!